Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayor may receive an unexpected chance of salvation at Real Madrid with a loan move to the Spanish giants, who appear genuinely interested in meeting his £170,000-a-week wages, a growing possibility.
City are reluctant to continue paying the wages of any loanees and the prospects of Adebayor, who has started only two Premier League games this season, finding sanctuary at the Bernabeu seemed to have diminished when Jose Mourinho said earlier this month that his club would have to make do with what they had. The concern at the Bernabeu is that Adebayor is a troublemaker but with Gonzalo Higuain out until the end of the season, Mourinho now accepts he needs reinforcements. A five-month loan suits as Real do not want to buy now, anticipating better options in the summer. There has been no direct contact with City from the Spanish club, but a move there may be on the cards.
There is also interest in Adebayor from Monaco and from Fulham, where Mark Hughes feels he can help the 26-year-old scale the heights he briefly reached when he first signed him for City last season. The prospect of a move to Real is less advanced. The return of Kaka, who needed a knee operation after the World Cup and has not played this season, eases Mourinho's problems and Karim Benzema, whom Mourinho has considered too flimsy, has started to come back into form in recent weeks. That points to another struggle for selection for the Togolese striker if he makes the move to Madrid. But the Spanish side's ability to meet his wages means he may have no choice in his onward destination.
City manager Roberto Mancini is in no hurry to see Adebayor settled elsewhere – "Emmanuel must wait," he said on Tuesday – but his feeling that Roque Santa Cruz deserves the chance to renew his career elsewhere means that the Paraguayan is now destined for a loan spell of his own, at Blackburn Rovers, where he made such a dramatic impact on the Premier League when Hughes signed him in July 2007.
Mancini has also hinted at the attraction of Gareth Bale as a playing asset, declaring in an interview with the Turin sports newspaper Tuttosport that he will be "the strongest target" for the leading clubs in Europe this summer if Tottenham make him available and that Spurs are half the side without him. "Last year Bale had already proved his value but his career had not yet taken off," Mancini said. "Now you would need a lot of money [to sign him]. He is a very expensive player. Certainly, Juve with Bale would gain a lot. Moreover, what is certain is that if Tottenham decide to put him on the market, Bale would be the strongest target in the summer. Perhaps he [Bale] is the only player who is not a striker that can make a difference. Without him, Tottenham lose 50 per cent of their potential."
Mario Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola has said he is "excluding surgery" as a necessary way of resolving the knee trouble that may keep him out for a month. "We are doing deep scans, but for the moment we have ruled out the possibility of the player going under the knife," he said.